Written by Howard Blankman Friday, 08 March 2013 00:00
Port Washington has been my home since the late ’50s—more than half my life. I love the town. I almost feel like a Clam Digger. But I know I’m not. A “Clam Digger” is a name reserved for those born here when locals dug for clams.
How do I know? Because I asked an old friend, Reed Markham, who is a real fourth-generation Clam Digger. Markham lives and raised a family in a house on Jackson Street, built by his great-grandfather (mother’s side) Alfred C. Bayles as a wedding present for his son Alfred S. Bayles, PhD. (Reed’s grandfather and “Doc” Bayles to locals). Reed says he likes to tell people he owns the Long Island Rail Road. My eyes popped; he explained.
In 1897, Alfred C. was the catalyst who sparked the drive that brought the Long Island Rail Road into Port. He owned the land the LIRR coveted for its station – a piece 66 feet wide, running 700 feet from Main Street south. While other local landowners sold their surrounding properties to the LIRR, Alfred C. granted the railroad a right-of-way for free. But no fool was he. Mr. Bayles got a restrictive covenant which, in effect, said, “You guys can use my land for your railroad, but should you get cute and try to use it for anything else, it reverts back to the Bayles/Markham family.” Added Markham, with a chuckle and an I-gotcha smile, “They [LIRR] can’t condemn it because they got it for nothing.” That’s one for the little guys.
You are cordially invited... along with your family, friends and neighbors, to join Everybody’s Port. It’s a new kind of club that really is not a club at all. No dues, no officers and no meetings. And the only thing it takes to join is a shared deep affection for and pride in Port Washington. In return, you can have a hand in this column any time you’ve got a hankering to. Like the rest of the Port Washington News, this space is to be people-oriented, a place where you and what you do are prime. Your help is needed to ensure that this column carries information in an entertaining way that you will look forward to reading every week.
Frankly, the only way that can happen is for you to be a kind of roving reporter and shoot me news that you would like to see in print. It could reflect how you feel about something and why. And it can be humorous, sad, patriotic, surprising, historical, personal, or whatever tingles your bell.
For example, your church/temple/ synagogue, social group, club, school or whatever is putting on a play or doing something special. Tell me about it in advance. Invite me to come, and maybe I will. If it’s a play or musical production, please give me about three weeks’ notice. I’ll come to a rehearsal and try to write about it prior to its first performance — not as a drama critic, but as someone who wants to tell Port Washington that something good is about to happen here.
At all times, the content of this column will be restricted to Port’s people and what’s going on here. Take this past Valentine’s Day: The Cow Bay Theatre Company presented a dinner-theater potpourri of love songs dedicated to the legendary patron of love, St. Valentine, at Ayhan’s Mediterranean Marketplace Café. While St. Valentine was never a resident of Port, most of the singers were. Schreiber graduate, Laura Leigh Carroll emceed and sang as good as she looked; Schreiber grad Jake Glickman (accompanying himself on piano) delighted the crowd with two Beatles’ songs; nationally-acclaimed Elana Hayden (lives here), singing over a cold, delivered a masterful performance of “My Funny Valentine”; Michael Copeland (lives here, too) did Dylan, and Warren Schein, Port’s COC co-prez, tickled everyone’s funny bone and sang like the pro he is. Some of Schein’s groupies were also on hand, including Linda and Neville Newby, Marion and Allan Hirsch former Port Singers stalwarts.
Everybody’s Port Question Of The Week: Somewhere in this column a body of water is mentioned. Can you name it and tell how it came by its name? Be the first to email me the correct \answer and you win a prize. See ya’ next week with the winner’s name.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Attendees of the Port Washington Memorial Day parade might see a familiar face waving from the American Legion convertible this year. 90-year-old army veteran Ed Balcourt will be this year’s Grand Marshal.
Balcourt, who was raised in Brooklyn, was attending medical school at the height of the U.S. involvement in World War II. He was deferred from the draft, but at 19, decided to join the army.
“All my friends had been drafted. When I walked outside, I could feel all the women looking at me. I felt a little guilty. I wanted to go fight,” Balcourt said.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The Port Washington Veterans of Foreign Wars has selected Peter Ripullone, a decorated soldier and architect, as Co-Grand Marshal of this year’s Memorial Day Parade. The Ripullone family has a long tradition of military service, which dates back to World War I.
Ripullone followed the family tradition and entered military service as a second lieutenant in the army, in 1966. After completing his combat engineering training, he was certified as a combat engineer unit commander. Prior to his service in Vietnam, he spent three months with the 91st Combat Engineers, assisting in the training of West Point cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, for various combat engineering missions, including various types of bridge construction, building and fortification structures, road and runway construction, mine warfare and demolition training.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Elimination in the first-round of the county playoffs, though disappointing, can’t take anything away from what the Schreiber High School girls softball team accomplished this year, according to coach Eric Sutz.
A comparison between what happened to the team last year and what the team did this year is a study in contrasts. “Last year we didn’t win one league game,” Sutz explained. “This year we were undefeated in the league.” The Vikings won all 14 of their league games and were 15-4 overall. They were conference champions for the first time since 2004.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
The fact that Port Washington Youth Activities (PYA) is celebrating its 50th year of working with area boys and girls is quite an accomplishment. Ron Henderson, its executive director for the past 20 years, also has a long history with PYA’s Lions Field that extends all the way back to 1958.
“I played in the first games ever held at the field back then when it was the Port Washington Little League,” said Henderson. “That was before the field was renovated.” The renovation, which began in 1999 and forced the PYA to relocate for two years from its Glen Lane site, now features four Little League fields and one major league field, all on pesticide-free, natural grass. During the fall, the fields are converted for lacrosse and football programs.